India approves use of world's first DNA Covid-19 vaccine

The DNA vaccine is developed in India.

Belmont Lay | August 22, 2021, 04:27 AM

India has approved the use of the world's first DNA Covid-19 vaccine, even as sceptics worldwide continue to argue about and doubt the efficacy and long-term side effects of mRNA vaccines.

Reuters reported that the DNA vaccine, developed in India by Zydus Cadila, was granted emergency use approval by the country's drug regulator.

As a result of the approval, the world's and India's first DNA shot against the coronavirus will be administered to adults and children aged 12 years and above.

DNA vaccine much needed boost in inoculation drive

The approval gives a boost to India's vaccination programme, which aims to inoculate all eligible adults by December 2021.

The vaccine will also be the first shot for those under 18.

Currently, India is still struggling to contain the virus spread in some states.

What is different about DNA vaccine?

The vaccine, ZyCoV-D, is administered in three doses, instead of two.

It is administered using a needle-free applicator as opposed to traditional syringes.

The company producing the vaccine claims the needle-free system can lead to a significant reduction in side effects.

It is reportedly effective against the new coronavirus mutants, especially the Delta variant.

ZyCoV-D uses a section of genetic material from the virus that gives instructions as either DNA or RNA to make the specific protein that the immune system recognises and responds to.

The firm, Zydus Cadila, had applied for the authorisation of ZyCoV-D on July 1, based on an efficacy rate of 66.6 per cent against symptomatic Covid-19 cases in a late-stage trial of over 28,000 volunteers nationwide.

The DNA vaccine has a 100 per cent efficacy rate for moderate disease.

Homegrown vaccine

This latest vaccine is the second homegrown shot to get emergency authorisation in India.

The first was Bharat Biotech's Covaxin.

The regulatory nod makes ZyCoV-D the sixth vaccine authorised for use in India, where only about 9.18 per cent of the entire population has been fully vaccinated so far.

India has about 1.4 billion people.

The generic drugmaker is listed as Cadila Healthcare Ltd.

It aims to make 100 million to 120 million doses of ZyCoV-D annually and has already begun stockpiling the vaccine.

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